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Americas: Looking Forward to Central America Free Software Festival

The Central American Free Software Festival [es] (ECSL09 for its initials in Spanish) will take place on June 17-21 in Estelí, Nicaragua. This will be the first opportunity for many enthusiasts of open-source and free software from across Central America to come together to share experiences, promote their projects, establish common objectives, and to find ways to work together. The schedule of events [es] includes workshops and panels where different members from communities will lead and participate in these activities. There will also be a “rapid-development” tournament, where participants will need to design and program an application in a short period of time, with the only stipulations are that it must be developed using free tools and available under a free license.

The event's logo

The event's logo

Many participants are looking forward to the event and to visit the city of Estelí. Leandro Gómez describes the location of the festival in his home country:

Estelí is a city in northern Nicaragua, near to the border of Honduras, 150 kms. from capital city Managua, and the official venue of the First Central American Free Software Summit.

The city of Estelí, known as the Diamond of the Segovias, will also host the first international meeting of Ubuntu community leaders in Central America, with the participation of members from the Ubuntu Local Community Teams in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Panamá, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and special guests from other communities in Latin America.

From neighboring Honduras, Diego Turcios writes about the different communities that will be attending the event [es]:

De nuestro bello pais Honduras, asistiran 9 o 10 personas. De las cuales son representates de las comunindades linuxeras del pais.Las cuales son: GULTGU, Linux Maya, Comunidad GNU/Linux del Progreso y Ubuntu Honduras LocalTeam.

From our beautiful country of Honduras, 9 or 10 people will be attending the event, representing the Linux communities from the country: GULTGU, Linux Maya, Comunidad GNU/Linux del Progreso and Ubuntu Honduras Local Team.

Events like these are usually heavily attended by males, but there will be a strong presence from female members of open-source software communities. Victoria Zeledón, one of the few members of “Centroamericanas” a network of female Central Americans working in the field of free software welcomes everyone to Estelí adding:

A pocos días de conocer a mucha gente ya estoy emocionada por la experiencia a vivir. Además las Mujeres Centroamercianas que trabajamos por el software libre haremos presencia al igual que muchas personalidades que harán que este encuentro sea de mucho provecho.

In few days I will meet a lot of people, I am already excited for the experience. Besides the Central American Women that are working for open-source software, there will also be many personalities who will make the encounter something worthwhile.

In addition, she recommends this link to learn more about Estelí and its nightlife.

ECSL09 has its own blog, and provides updates and logistical information for participating groups. Among the groups from across the region include Asociacion de Usuarios GNU/Linux El Salvador, Debian Costa Rica, Debian Nicaragua, Debian Panamá, DebianSV, and El Salvador Ubuntu Team, just to a name a few. A complete list can be found on the blog's sidebar.

Even though many of these communities have been part of the planning of or have known about the event for quite some time, there are some who believe that it is important to share information using social networking tools. Rodrigo Peñalba of Nicaragua writes that this promotion can help attract attention and media support for the event, despite some resistance because Twitter and other sites are not free software [es].

The excitement for this event is showing. MMGC84 of the GNU/Linux community of Nicaragua thanks the organizers for this opportunity and posts the image of the receipt for the registration payment saying, “I'm almost in Estelímar!”

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